Are you going to be doing some serious holiday eating? These 10 holiday tips to enjoy special meals without gaining weight are not rocket science, my friends. No revelations, here.
There is a bit of a secret, though, to finding success during this time of year when binge eating is…well, almost acceptable. I’ll tell you what it is.
You need to commit to following ALL of these simple actions, EACH TIME you are going to a holiday function. It doesn’t matter if it’s cocktails after work, a family gathering or Christmas dinner. If you are serious about getting through this feeding frenzy we call the holidays without finding your clothes fitting tighter, it will require some effort on your part.
Even if the result is just a pound or two and you think, “Whew! That’s not so bad, I’ll lose that weight quickly”, guest what? Most of us don’t follow through, and those small weight gain increments follow us year after year, until we’ve gained a more substantial amount of weight. Sigh.
To add insult to injury, once we reach midlife the pounds seem to appear without provocation, even when we’re working so hard to maintain our weight. For women over 50, we need to ‘gird our loins’ when it comes to holiday eating and commit to ourselves that we’re going to have a wonderful season without losing control of our eating habits.
2020 Update: Well, this year is certainly not the norm when it comes to holiday gatherings. We are foregoing many, if not most, of the parties, and our special times are with smaller groups, or perhaps even by ourselves.
My Thanksgiving dinner will be with me, myself, and I this year, even though family is near by. We’re all staying home and gathering within our family units, whatever that number may be.
But you know what? I am still going to follow these 10 holiday eating tips as I go through my day, preparing my festive meal and then enjoying it.
No matter how large or small your gathering is, my friend, make wise choices!
These simple tips to avoid weight gain will work for you at any time of the year, not just for holiday eating. How about wedding receptions, graduation parties, social functions…you don’t have to save your smart eating habits for the month of December. 🙂
10 holiday eating tips to avoid
1 | Don’t starve yourself that day
Even though it may seem to make sense at the time. You’re thinking that if you save up the calories throughout the day, you can eat whatever you want at the holiday shindig and your body will be none the wiser.
Unfortunately, you’re setting yourself up to overeat at the special meal because you’re probably starving. You may end up consuming twice as many calories (and fat, carbs, sodium, etc) as you would if you had not been so ravenous.
2 | Eat a healthy snack before the party
Something small but healthy is all you need. A handful of almonds, a piece of fruit, a small salad.
It will help you feel fuller (naturally!) and you will be able to make better eating decisions at the gathering.
3 | Drink water before the meal
Have a glass of water before going to the holiday affair, and consider starting out with water when you get there.
You’ll feel fuller and like the tip above, you won’t be as likely to overeat.
4 | Tour the food table(s) before putting any food on your plate
Having a plan is so important when eating out during the holidays. Do a ‘walkabout’ of the food…appetizers, main course, dessert…before you eat one thing.
Decide in advance what you’re going to eat, pick your poison so to speak and then stick with it.
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5 | Commit to avoiding mindless eating
When we’re at holiday gatherings we tend to snack while we eat.
It’s easy to do, with food everywhere tempting us to have ‘just a bite’. Well, you know what happens! Just a bite here, just a bite there…talk and chat some more…another bite here and there…and before you know it you’ve consumed enough bites for a meal. And you haven’t had the meal yet.
So tell yourself, in advance, that you are not going to do that. You’ll put food on your dinner plate one time, and that is all.
6 | Beware the sneaky appetizer table
The appetizers look SO good. Tasty, inviting, and there is such a variety! What would it hurt to have just a bite? Hint: read the paragraph above 🙂
7 | Refrain from 2nd or 3rd helpings
This is so hard to do when the food is tasting so delicious, but it can be a real game-changer when you have a number of holiday gatherings to attend.
So, make a pact with yourself that you will only have one serving of the food you decided to enjoy.
8 | Eat slowly and make the meal last longer
This goes hand in hand with the tip above. If you take the time to enjoy and savor the plate of food you took, you won’t be as likely to want more.
And remember...you’re not going to have more!
9 | Go easy on the alcohol
Aside from the obvious implications of over-imbibing, alcohol, particularly mixed drinks, can add lots of calories and carbs to the meal. If you drink, have one and be done.
10 | Keep to a regular workout plan
Don’t make the mistake of thinking, “oh well, it’s the holidays and I’m going to blow it anyway, so why bother working out?”.
No, my friend, don’t do that! Maintain your regular workouts – you DO exercise, right?? – and you’ll be doing yourself a favor in the New Year.
It really is possible to enjoy holiday eating without gaining weight, as long as you are willing to plan ahead a little bit and be true to yourself!